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The State of the Community Foundation: Very Strong for 2022

Several links of a taut, heavy iron chain

By Chris Askin CSPG, CFRE
President & CEO

Like adding another link in a strong chain, a new year is built on, and a continuation of, what was accomplished and the obstacles overcome in the prior years. That’s how history works and how progress is made. I’m happy to report that 2022 is positioned to be a great year at the Community Foundation, thanks to what our team accomplished in 2021. Here are a few highlights from the year just past and a look ahead.

No reflection on the past year would be complete without a mention of COVID. The pandemic is a continuing challenge with the unfathomable onset of the Omicron variant, the highly transmissible nature of this version of COVID. Given its similarities of symptoms to a common cold, we are clearly in a new phase where it seems everyone is much more susceptible. The good news: it appears to be much less severe, and perhaps will add a significant layer of immunity that will help us overcome this once and for all.

Yet, despite that ongoing nemesis, 2021 was a fantastic year that again demonstrated not just the continuing generosity of our community and commitment to helping others, but indeed the increasing giving and support that we'd hoped to see. 

By early last summer, our goals for philanthropy had to be increased by the Community Foundation staff and Board – because we had already achieved our annual financial goals so early in the year!  We set a new, aspirational goal that I thought it unlikely we would reach, but reach that goal we did. The increase in giving in 2021 was gratifying and inspirational, and, as hoped, we saw in increase in granting. These numbers aren’t final yet, but we estimate that gifts made to the Community Foundation were more than $14 million for the year. And with market returns as of the end of November, our total revenue had doubled from the prior year to more than $30 million – and may reach $40 million once the year-end books are closed. Our biggest year ever!

We get most excited about grants made – and there is a lot to be excited about, as we estimate that our grants for 2021 exceeded $15 million. This does not include more than $8 million in interfund grants, which as the name indicates, occurs when a Community Foundation fundholder makes a grant to another one of our funds. Clearly this generous level of investing in our community is having a significant impact. Gifts received, along with the amazing investment returns in 2021, grew the Community Foundation by more than 12%, increasing assets to an estimated $155 million. It is the continuous growth in assets that increases the Community Foundation's capacity to do even more good in 2022 and in future years.

In addition to these important financially measurable indicators of commitment and support, the Community Foundation moved ahead with key projects to expand affordable housing and strengthen support for family caregivers, along with other community initiatives. In the face of so many emotional and societal challenges that have left the world around us feeling overwhelmed, depleted, and exhausted, I am so incredibly proud of our staff who found strength in our mission and in each other to accomplish so much as a team. 

As we prepare to add a new link to the chain, the Community Foundation is poised to take a huge leap forward with audacious goals for 2022 and beyond. Our strength is rooted in the strength of the people of Northern Nevada, connected by and channeled through our talented and dedicated staff, working alongside our wonderful Board, led by Chair Kevin Melcher. With year-after-year progress behind us, and now with a new year just underway, I’m happy to report that the Community Foundation of Northern Nevada is strong, very strong, indeed.

The Community Foundation of Northern Nevada is strengthening our community through philanthropy and leadership by connecting people who care with causes that matter. We welcome your call at 775-333-5499 or email us at

January 15, 2022